Directed by: Rob Reiner
Written by: Ted Griffin
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins, Mena Suvari
Released: January 5, 2006
Grade: B+

Sarah Huttinger (Aniston) is frustrated by her life and doesn’t know what to do about it.  She writes the obituaries in a leading newspaper but it’s not the career path she was hoping for.  She recently got engaged to her long-time boyfriend Jeff (Ruffalo) but she’s not sure if she’s marrying him because she loves him or because they’re best friends.

Her search for self-discovery takes a humorous twist at the wedding of her younger sister, Annie (Suvari).  Sarah learns that her late mother had a fling with another man just before she married her husband, Earl (Jenkins).  Knowing that she was conceived not long before her parents were wed, Sarah thinks that this man might actually be her father.  It could explain why she has so little in common with the rest of the family.

Confiding in her grandmother, Katharine (MacLaine), Sarah learns there’s a lot more to this story.  The man’s name was Beau Burroughs (Costner) and whilst her mother did have an affair with him, it was Grandma Katharine who slept with him first!

If this sounds like The Graduate, you’d be on the money.  It’s referred to in the film many times and a running joke is that it was Katharine’s and Beau’s relationship which Charles Webb based his famous novel on.  The film’s title says it all and I can guarantee that there’s no truth to this rumour.

Gossip aside, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be laughing or crying during this film.  It has a light tone but Jennifer Aniston’s neurotic character is unsettling.  Sarah becomes extremely upset at times but it’s usually because she brings it on herself.  She can make a mountain out of mole-hill and I wanted to tell her to “get a grip” rather than utter comforting words of sympathy.

At least she’s interesting and this leads to the high-point of the film - the writing of Ted Griffin (Matchstick Men, Ocean’s Twelve).  The dialogue is clever with some intelligently funny exchanges between Jennifer Aniston and Shirley MacLaine.  I’m sure Rob Reiner also had a say in the script considering past successes in the romantic comedy genre.  His previous directorial efforts include The American President, When Harry Met Sally, and The Princess Bride.

I wasn’t won over by the story and truth-be-told, you’ll enjoy it more for its one-liners than its drama.